There are many people with whom you are excited to share the news about your relationship. Your estate planning lawyer is probably not one of those people. While you might immediately text your best friend to tell her that you are moving in with your boyfriend, or call your mom right away to tell her the happy news, you probably didn’t think to tell us about this new level of commitment in your relationship. That’s okay; our feelings are not hurt.
We Want to Know What’s Going on—Here’s Why
We are delighted to see you happy, but that’s not the only reason that we want to know that you and your boyfriend or girlfriend have made a commitment to one another. We want to talk to you about how to protect your partner if you should die.
Unmarried partners do not have the same rights as married partners. If one partner dies without a will or trust that provides for the unmarried partner, then the surviving partner may not inherit anything. You may have been fully committed to one another, but without legal documents that establish your intent to pass property to your partner, your partner may be left with nothing.
You Can Avoid This
As a legal adult of sound mind, you have the right to modify your existing estate plan to provide for your partner in the event of your death. You can do this by:
- Naming your partner as a beneficiary in your will.
- Establishing a trust that leaves property to your partner.
- Naming your partner as the guardian of your children.
Additionally, you should consider whether you want your partner to be your power of attorney and health care proxy should you become incapacitated by accident or illness. Your partner may already have access to your financial accounts and may know you better than anyone else—putting him in a unique position to act as your health care proxy if you can’t make your own medical decisions.
To learn more about what you can do to protect your partner, please start a live chat with us today.